How To Apply Fertilizer To Large Areas - Knowledgebase Question

Canonsburg, PA
Question by rollings
January 27, 2001
I have two large flower beds (approx. 20ft.x50ft.) both consisting of roses and perennials. Every spring I apply the appropriate granular fertilizer and a layer of compost & peat to the beds. I have been doing small areas at a time, pulling back all the mulch then applying the fertilizer and compost/peat mixture to the surface and working it into the top few inches of soil, then putting back the mulch and moving onto the next area. What a job! Is this the best method or is there another way I'm not aware of? Thank you for your help.
CR, Pittsburgh PA
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Answer from NGA
January 27, 2001


You are using a preferred method, however the fertilizer can also be applied by simply sprinkling it on the surface without pulling back the mulch. The rain will wash it into the soil. The compost can also be spread on top of the old mulch, then a light layer of fresh mulch applied over that to keep the finer compost from blowing away. This latter method works best if you maintain only about two to three inches of mulch on the beds year round.

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